The National Land Commission (NLC) has concluded the mediation process between Murang’a County’s Kandara Residents Association and the Del Monte fruit farm over the company’s land lease and will give its findings before February 2019.
NLC’s Samuel Tororei, who was chairing the mediation, Frday told the Nation that the process is over and that should the parties fail to agree with its findings and recommendations, the case would move to court.
He said the commission provided an opportunity for all the parties to be frank with each other and to settle the matter out of court.
“We have concluded the mediation process and after receiving and reading the commission’s conclusion and recommendations, the parties involved may take the commission’s findings to court for adoption and if they disagree, the case will continue in court,” he told the Nation.
The out of court deal was reached by the association, who are the applicants, and Del Monte company, Murang’a and Kiambu county governments and the Attorney-General at the Murang’a Land and Environment Court on October 3 after the Kandara association urged the court to halt the proceedings to allow them settle the matter.
The Kandara residents filed the suit in September 2016 seeking to block NLC and Murang’a County government from renewing the company’s leaseholds until it cedes 6,000 acres which they claim were grabbed by the white settlers from their fore fathers.
Through their chairman Phillip Kamau, the locals claimed that the children of their forefathers who owned the land currently occupied Del Monte live as squatters and require to be settled before the lease is renewed.
They listed their application as a historical injustice which they want heard and determined before the company’s lease is renewed.
The residents drawn from Murang’a and Kiambu counties said they suffered murder, rape and displacement when their land was “grabbed and illegally awarded to the company”.
On September 27 during the hearing of the matter, the locals also accused the company of putting to use more land than what was agreed in the leasehold and sub-dividing and selling part of the land, all amounting to 13,500 acres.
“Some of the acreage being used by the company is not included in the leasehold agreement and this includes the Chui land, Sassa coffee and Mugambo land as well as illegal sale of land amounting to 13,500 acres,” they said.
The county government and the Del Monte did not file their counter submissions to NLC.
The case will be mentioned on February 11 before Judge Grace Kemei.
Another case where two residents have sued the county and NLC agitating for local and international bids before renewing the Del Monte leasehold will be heard in January 14.